University of Nottingham Ningbo China
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Internationalisation of Higher Education Forum

13 June 2014 (13:00-16:00)


Tel: 0574 8818 2573



The University of Nottingham positions itself as a World-leader in International and Trans-national Higher Education practice. To maintain such a position, it is important that we are all aware of and engaged in the debates taking place globally on the purposes and nature of international HE, in a context of increased scrutiny of the roles of HE in general. This forum is the first of a series drawing on expertise inside and outside the University and is intended to provide space for just such engagement amongst academic and non-academic staff with roles relevant to international HE, and among students.


Chair: Professor Anwei Feng

1-2pm     Lunch (Aroma Sandwiches plus juice, tea/coffee)

2-3pm     Presentation by Dr John Lowe, Associate Professor of School of Education, UNNC

'Being an international student in the UK and China: between the dream and the reality'

Abstract: This paper asks whether the aspirations of students who go to study abroad and the institutional rhetoric that promotes such 'adventures' are matched by international students' actual experiences. It draws on the author's studies of the experiences of Chinese students in the UK and of international students from diverse countries in China, against a background of a wider research literature. It suggests that whereas a gap between youthful dreams and reality is perhaps to be expected, this is not a major cause of concern; dreams and aspirations serve their own purposes. Gaps between institutional rhetoric and experienced reality are more worrying, however, and the paper discusses what can be done to address these.

3-4pm     Presentation by Professor Bob Adamson, Head of Department of International Education & Lifelong Learning, Hong Kong Institute of Education     

"The Reorientation of Higher Education: Compliance, Defiance and Appropriation" 

Abstract:Over the last thirty years, higher education policy and practices have brought about fundamental changes in the nature and functions of higher education institutions (HEIs) around the world. The changes have been driven by an ideology, geopolitical and socio-economic changes, and financial realities. The ideology—neo-liberalism—is concerned with opening up world markets, but has been applied to areas, such as education, that were not previously associated with economic entrepreneurialism. The instruments that institutionalize the application of neo-liberal ideology in higher education include new forms of governance that have had major impacts upon the work of academics, student experiences and the strategic positioning of HEIs. Geopolitical shifts have facilitated the development of world markets by breaking down political and economic barriers. Socio-economic changes, such as post-industrialization and increased aspirations of the populace, have brought about the need for widening participation in higher education. 

This presentation explores the responses of HEIs in different contexts to the international trends. It shows that institutional repositioning, while reacting to similar global trends and pressures, may take any number of forms: from enthusiastic embrace at one end of a notional continuum, through compliance and defiance, to more complex and holistic processes that involve appropriation and transformation of neo-liberal ideas at the other end. 

The forum is limited to 30 participants on a first come first served basis. Participants need to confirm their attendance to Helen ZHANG ( for catering purposes.